In February 2023 Greene Towne Montessori School officially opened the doors of their new home at 55 N. 22nd Street, across the street from Greene Towne’s previous home for many years, 2121 Arch Street.
Greene Towne is on the move!
We are thrilled to share that we have finalized plans to occupy three floors plus an expansive roof deck at 2140 Arch Street (entrance at 55 N. 22nd Street), located across the street from our East Campus at 2121 Arch Street.
January 2023: A third walkthrough of our new home at 55 N. 22nd Street!
December 2022: Check out the latest walkthrough with Sarah Sweeney-Denham, Head of School!
Check out the first walkthrough of our new home with Sarah Sweeney-Denham, Head of School!
Greene Towne’s New Home Announcement
Our Board of Trustees and its Real Estate Task Force have been seeking a location for the classrooms and offices that were displaced in the flooding from Hurricane Ida. We held very specific criteria, including convenience for our current families, faculty and staff, outdoor play space, and the ability to be designed and renovated for our needs and ready by September 2022.
The building, which was formerly the Science Leadership Academy, has big beautiful windows on all three floors and is a blank canvas that will be thoughtfully, specifically and strategically designed for Greene Towne. All of the classrooms and offices that are currently operating in the former Hallahan High School will be relocated to the new space in time for our opening of the 2022-23 school year.
This is important news in and of itself, but there is more to share. The total space of just under 30,000 square feet will also allow Greene Towne to come together as one unified campus within two years. For at least the 2022-23 school year, we expect the Primary classrooms that are currently located at our East Campus will remain in that building.
This move is a major step forward and an investment in GTMS’s future and toward growth and new possibilities. With our new space, we will build on the commitment and dedication of our founding families, inspired leaders and Montessori educators over our long history.
Our school community has been researching sites with the goal of unifying our two campuses for several years. Being all together under one roof will bring enormous benefits, both in terms of a strong and connected community, as well as efficiencies of operations and convenience for all of our families. Furthermore, the space allows for us to have the ability to expand our programs in the future.
The new location will have space for all of our classrooms, as well as ample space for Movement, Art, Music, a professional kitchen, and meeting and gathering spaces. The rooftop deck is large enough for multiple playscapes, specifically designed for our younger and older students. We have signed a lease that gives Greene Towne the option to remain in the building for up to 20 years, making it an important capital investment for our future.
What about our home at 2121 Arch Street? Our Board of Trustees is carefully exploring options for this building that is so much a part of our identity and history as a school. The building represents the strength of our community, its growth over the past 20 years, and the growth and success of thousands of children. As we enter into a new cycle of strategic planning, we are well-poised to analyze our financial and programmatic plans.
As we plan for this next move, it’s important to emphasize that we will be moving through this transition together. Throughout the spring and summer, there will be opportunities for every member of our community to follow our progress, provide important input into our plans, and offer the opportunity to provide critical support for this journey.
We know from experience that Greene Towne stays strong through every kind of challenge and multiple site relocations over its 55-year history. We create a home wherever we are: it is the teachers, the children and the Montessori method that make us Greene Towne Montessori, and together, we will create the strongest Greene Towne yet.
You will hear more from us very soon, including further updates as information becomes available.
With excitement for all that is to come,
Sarah Sweeney-Denham, Head of School
Dan Rainer, President, Board of Trustees
- Why a new home for Greene Towne?
Since its start fifty-five years ago with two classrooms on the upper floors of St. Clement’s Church, Greene Towne has expanded to fill every location it has called home. In 2001 the school moved to 2121 Arch Street, and as it expanded to serve toddlers, Greene Towne opened its Toddler House at a new campus at 2215 Arch Street in 2013.Last September, flooding from Hurricane Ida submerged all classrooms, offices and equipment in over four feet of water, destroying everything. While it has been a longtime strategic goal of Greene Towne’s to unite its program in one location, the loss of the West Campus created an opportunity for us to accelerate this goal. 2140 Arch Street comfortably houses all of our classrooms, offices, and specialist spaces into one location, with room to grow.
- Why 2140 Arch Street?
The expansive three-floor facility provides a blank canvas for Greene Towne to custom design learning spaces for its active Montessori program, as well as room to grow. All classrooms have ample space for children to move as is inherent with the Montessori Method in their classrooms, as well as in multiple rooms for specialist classes such as Movement, Art, and Music, and even cooking.The building includes use of a private roof deck, which is three times the size of the East campus playdeck. The school plans to design and build multiple playscapes and include elements to allow for community events with fresh air and a view.
The location builds on Greene Towne’s sense of place and belonging in the Logan Square neighborhood, within the same block as its East campus at 2121 Arch Street, which has been the school’s home for the past twenty years. It is convenient for all current families, faculty and staff.
- What were the criteria for selecting the new location?
The top priorities in our search for a new, unified location included:
*A location that is proximate to East Campus, and convenient to our current families, faculty and staff
*Ground floor access and classrooms for our youngest students
*Outdoor space for play required*Ability to be designed and renovated for our needs and ready by September 2022
- Who led the search process?
Greene Towne Montessori School has had a vision for a unified campus for several years. In 2019, the school formed a real estate task force composed of board members with real estate, finance, and legal experience, and senior administrators, who worked with the real estate broker Savills to analyze space needs in order to be ready when the right opportunity arose.
- What will the new space look like?
Greene Towne’s new home has natural, simple, and sophisticated design elements that showcase the classic design of Montessori materials and works. The building’s large windows bathe the classrooms in light on three sides of the building, and soft yet bright lighting design for all rooms. Toddler classrooms will include corner platform “stages,” while the Primary classrooms will each include cozy reading nooks. Hallways on each floor will feature children’s work. Over every classroom door will be a different color of glass in a nod to a transom, that lets light travel through the building into the interior rooms.2140 Arch Street’s main entrance will be on 22nd street just below Arch. The first floor will be the Toddler House, with Toddler School Year classrooms and Toddler All Day Montessori classroom (open 8am-6pm). The second floor contains Primary All Day Montessori and School Year Primary classrooms, a professional kitchen, the children’s lunch room, the Art room, a Movement room, and a Music room. On the third floor, there will be additional School Year Primary classrooms, a faculty lounge and lunch room, and three future classrooms. Above the third floor will be our 4000 square foot playdeck.
- What about outdoor space?
Contiguous outdoor space is essential to our program and to children’s development. The private roof deck at 2140 Arch is large enough to support the use of more than one class at a time. We look forward to designing playscapes that allow children to further develop their gross motor skills through jumping, throwing, running, sliding, hopping and playing. There will be playground equipment, planter boxes and containers, space to continue our composting and worm work, and more. Teachers and students will have space to eat their lunches outside, with shady areas and space for all of our water play on hot summer days.
- What will change and what will remain the same due to the move?
What will change?*Families and children will have an opportunity to know one another across all the age levels of our school, which is challenging now with two campuses.
*Families with children at different age levels at Greene Towne will be able to drop them off and pick them up with one stop.
*Faculty and staff will be together, allowing for more camaraderie and support for each other and the program.
*School systems will be more efficient with easier all school communication and operations.
What will remain the same?*The dedication to the Montessori method, which places the needs and growth of children at the center of all that we do.*The sense of belonging in the Greene Towne community, which will be an even more palpable experience of being part of a cohesive whole.
- How will the new building support our health and safety protocols?
New and upgraded HVAC system; fully integrated security design with zoned areas throughout the building; ample space in classrooms; two means of egress from every room; flexibility in classroom layouts and furnishings; purpose-built space for every part of our program.
- What about 2121?
Our Board of Trustees is carefully exploring options for 2121 Arch Street: a building that is so much a part of our identity and history as a school. The building represents the strength of our community, its growth over the past 20 years, and the growth and success of thousands of children. As we enter into a new cycle of strategic planning, we are well-poised to analyze our financial and programmatic plans and how the asset of 2021 will play a part in our future.
- How will the new space support specialist classes?2140 Arch Street includes classrooms specifically designed for Art, Music, Movement, as well as kitchen spaces for children to cook in.
- What will the new location offer the surrounding community?Greene Towne’s new home will provide space for families or outside groups to rent to hold parties or lessons. We’re excited to expand our offerings to include grownup and child “Montessori and Me” playgroups, parent workshops and speakers. Visiting presenters will have the state of the art AV equipment and tech needed to bring a program alive, and share it as needed.
- What if I have more questions?
We’d love to hear your questions–Send them to Deb Edmonds, Senior Administrative Assistant to the North Campus and Head of School: firstname.lastname@example.org.